It's a fictional streetscape we wander, here, a metropolis whose buildings, boulevards, and back alleys are in a constant state of flux. This is every place, and yet, no place at all - a city of dreams and a dream of a city.

Here, we explore the life and work of Ivan Illich and his circle of collaborators. There's no comprehensive index to the articles published, but we invite you to use the Search box, to the left, and to explore the Archive links that appear at the bottom of each page. Comments are welcomed.

Monday, June 24, 2013

"The People's Priest"

A perceptive profile of Ivan Illich that argues for the relevance of his thinking today was published in February, 2010 at The American Conservative. The author is Chase Madar, a civil rights attorney whose most recent book is The Passion of Bradley Manning: The Story behind the Wikileaks Whistleblower. His conclusion:
Famous or forgotten, Ivan Illich remains relevant, for the Age of McNamara and Rostow is hardly over. Not long ago, Paul Wolfowitz was rewarded for his reckless, idealistic war-making with the leadership of the World Bank. If Illich opposed the ’60s gold rush of rich-country reformers to Latin America, what would he make of today’s militarized onslaught of reform and development? He would have had plenty to say about our benevolent conquest of Afghanistan, which many fervently believe to be a kind of Peace Corps/feminist/human-rights NGO empowerment zone, one that will soon just happen to have 110,000 soldiers in it -- and that’s not counting the mercenaries. The unaccountable power of aid groups in the sociopolitical fabric of Uganda, Bangladesh, and elsewhere would also have taxed Illich’s rich gifts for diatribe. Back in the industrialized world, the professions of education, healthcare, and law are being ruthlessly integrated into the corporate-service sector in which the bottom line is frequently the only line. One highly doubts that Illich would applaud any of these events—but are there opportunities amid the wreckage?

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Santa Rosa, California, United States
Writer, photographer, music fan; father and husband living in northern Calif.